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The ACC player of the year is having workouts with 15 teams before the draft, where he is expected to go in the second round.
Matt Gentry | The Roanoke Times
Virginia Tech's Erick Green, shown here in a January 2012 game against UVa, is a projected second round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Erick Green has traveled the country this month, auditioning for NBA teams.
Green, who led the nation in scoring as a Virginia Tech senior this year, hopes he has convinced one of those teams to pick him in the NBA draft.
“I’m really nervous because I just want to know where I’ll end up,” Green said in a phone interview. “At the same time, I’m really excited. Hopefully my name will get called and my dream will come true.
“[Last fall] I didn’t think I’d be where I’m at today, to be in the position to be a late first round, early second round pick. A lot’s changed. And I think on June 27th, my life will change.”
The two-round draft will air at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on ESPN, with 30 players going in the first round and another 30 in the second.
Green, a point guard who was named the ACC player of the year and a third-team All-American, showed his wares at the NBA combine last month in Chicago.
Since late May, 13 NBA teams have brought him to their cities for individual workouts, with two more workouts still to come.
An NBA executive who asked to remain anonymous said he expects Green to be taken in the second round, although he said some teams probably rate him higher. The executive eyed Green at the combine and at his own team’s workout.
NBA senior scouting director Ryan Blake also expects Green to go in the second round, but he said Green does have a shot to be taken in the first round.
The 6-foot-3, 178-pound Green averaged 25 points and 3.8 assists for the last-place Hokies this year.
“He is your classic tweener guard in that he’s been more of a scorer than anything else … and sizewise, he’s a point guard,” the executive said. “Teams need scorers. I can see him potentially playing a role coming off the bench as that quasi-combo guard; maybe he’s at the point.
“There’s a lot of small scoring guards that have done very well in this league. Even if he has to play the point, he’s got to be a scoring point because that’s what you like about him.
“We know he can score. We know he can put the ball on the floor and create his shot. We know he has NBA range.”
The executive said the question regarding Green is whether he can play point guard in the NBA.
“I would not be drafting him as a point guard. I’d be drafting him as a scorer,” he said.
But Blake does envision him as a pro point guard. He liked how Green performed as the Hokies’ point guard.
“He was a go-to scorer, a guy that tried to get his teammates involved, played both ends of the court, was able to run the pick-and-roll,” Blake said. “He has the ability to be a point guard [in the NBA]. That’s where he should be.
“He has that professional attitude, that when you come into a game you’re going to give all that you have.”
Green has worked out for Boston, Utah, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Indiana, Minnesota, Chicago, the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Denver and Memphis. He will visit Philadelphia today and Brooklyn on Monday.
“It’s been a great experience,” Green said. “All that hard work and all that time spent in the gym my senior year, when I hated it at the time, it really paid off.”
In his workouts, Green has been trying to show teams he can be an NBA floor general.
“Everybody knows I can score the ball. That’s not a concern for them. They want to know if I can make players around me better and if I can run an offense,” Green said. “I’ve been doing a great job of showing people I can get in the lane and create for others.”
At the workouts, Green has performed in shooting and ball-handling drills and has joined other prospects for games of three-on-three and one-on-one.
Green has been trying to show off his defensive side. At the workouts, he got to test himself against Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan, North Carolina State’s Lorenzo Brown, Baylor’s Pierre Jackson and Detroit’s Ray McCallum, among other point guard prospects.
“People want to see ‘Is he strong enough? Can he guard?’ ” Green said. “A lot of people are impressed with the way I play defense. They didn’t think I could play defense, but I have.”
Green said a lot of teams see him as a combo guard who could play both point guard and off-guard in the NBA. So Green, who made 61 3-pointers this year, has been demonstrating his 3-point shooting at the workouts.
Teams have also been eager to see Green drive to the basket and score.
“They want to see if I can finish at the rim,” he said. “A lot of people are shocked that I’m more athletic than I was showing during the year. I’m dunking in drills and showing I can take the contact when I go to the rim.”
Green met Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki and Clippers star Chris Paul, among others, on his visits.
To prepare for the combine and the workouts, Green left campus in late April to train in Bowie, Md., with his former AAU coach, Keith Stevens. Green finished his classwork online so he could graduate last month.
He worked on improving his shooting range and ball-handling for four weeks in Bowie. Indiana’s Victor Oladipo was among the handful of other prospects at those sessions.
Green missed Tech’s commencement ceremonies last month because the combine was the same week.
“I really wanted to be there for graduation to walk across the stage and see my parents’ faces,” he said. “But at the same time, this is an experience I’ll never have in my life again.”
USA Today rates Green the No. 38 overall prospect and the eighth-best point guard in the draft. ESPN’s Chad Ford ranks Green the No. 40 prospect, while ESPN’s Jay Bilas rates him the ninth-best point guard.
“I would love to be in the first round. That’s the goal,” Green said. “But just getting my name called would be a blessing.”
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